Loksa care home 77-strong COVID-19 spate highlights strain on health system
Seventy-seven new coronavirus cases were reported at a care home in Loksa, Harju County, Saturday, the vast majority among residents, ETV news show "Aktuaalne kaamera" (AK) reported Saturday evening.
Üllar Lanno, chief of the Health Board (Terviseamet) said that the situation is compounded by fears that Estonia's regular hospitals may be at critical overload within a matter of days.
One of the care home's staff tested positive for COVID-19 early on this week, which prompted testing across the board at the facility in Loksa, a small coastal port town about 60 km east of Tallinn, from Thursday.
The results found that 72 residents (out of 99) were COVID-19-positive, with nine individuals now hospitalized. Five staff also tested positive, making a total of 77, or around 14 percent of the 561 new cases reported Saturday, itself a record number for a single day.
Üllar Lanno told AK that: "In terms of medical care, those who most needed to have been hospitalized already. We could not convey everyone to hospital, so we also had to roll-out staff activities on site, to deal with the remaining patients."
These staff come from the North Estonia Regional Hospital (PERH) in Tallinn, the second time personnel from the hospital have worked on-site at a care home due to coronavirus.
Lanno said that the health system faced a twin threat of hospitals facing overload while care homes are not prepared for a crisis of the scale which has unfolded so far.
Lanno consequently called for all care homes – facilities principally for the elderly – to look at their coronavirus best practices and personal protective equipment (PPE) stocks, as well as human resources should existing staff be incapacitated after contracting the virus themselves.
Loksa's local government also pledged to step in to help.
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Editor: Andrew Whyte